Snow and ice mitigation at TTU

Posted by Lori Shull - Friday, January 17 2014
lshull@tntech.edu

 

After several extremely mild winters, TTU is experiencing much snow and ice. As a result, Facilities has begun using brine as a preventative measure, in addition to post-event products such as rock salt and ice melt.

What is salt brine?
Salt brine is water saturated with sodium chloride, or more simply, rock salt dissolved in water with beet juice as an adhesive. It will be Facility's anti-icing program, taking a proactive approach to controlling snow and ice on TTU's sidewalks and roads. Applying brine is similar to spraying a frying pan with oil to keep food from sticking to the bottom of the pan.

When is salt brine used?
Salt brine is applied by spraying it onto the pavement up to 72 hours in advance of a winter storm.

Pre-Treating
Pre-treating is a snow fighting strategy used in anticipation of winter storms. If applied just before a winter storm, salt brine will begin work as soon as the first snowflake falls and will help delay the accumulation of snow and ice on the pavement.

Why use salt brine?
Salt brine is much more cost effective and brine also allows the TTU Grounds Crew to apply during normal working hours. In addition, this allows our roads to be pre-treated before the driving conditions deteriorate. This will help the snow/ice from bonding to the pavement surface. As a result, the roads return to bare pavement much quicker once the storm has ended.

How is salt brine applied?
Motorists can expect to see crews pre-treating the roads with salt brine using our specially modified trucks, with units that slide into the back of a pick-up truck.

What should I do when following a vehicle applying salt brine?
Vehicles applying salt brine usually travel at speeds of 15 miles per hour. Motorists should stay back at least 300 feet from the vehicle.

What are other advantages of using salt brine?
1. Anti-icing returns road surfaces to normal faster, resulting in fewer accidents and delays.
2. Using a liquid ice-melter jump-starts the melting process because salt needs moisture to be effective.
3. Brine doesn’t bounce or blow off the road surface so material is used more efficiently.
4. If the storm is delayed salt residue remains on the road ready to begin work when precipitation begins.
5. Crews can cover more territory by beginning treatment in advance of a storm.
6. Increased efficiency results in use of less salt, minimizing environmental concerns and reducing cost.

Safety is our objective.
Should you encounter snow, ice or black ice, please proceed slowly and with caution. If you are walking about campus, wear shoes that have a tread on the sole. Please be safe.

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